Top billings of 2013

Dec 25, 2013

Top billings of 2013

Although all Japan’s 50 reactors have been shut down since September, cleaning up in the wake of the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is making very slow progress and tens of thousands of people still live in temporary ...

What goes around comes around in Nagatsuka's 'Macbeth'

Dec 18, 2013

What goes around comes around in Nagatsuka's 'Macbeth'

Whether he likes it or not, unassuming Keishi Nagatsuka is widely seen as being foremost among the coming generation in Japan’s contemporary theater world. Though the 38-year-old director, actor and playwright began to stand out after founding the Asagaya Spiders company in his early ...

'Don Quixote' as never before

Dec 11, 2013

'Don Quixote' as never before

Paris comes to Tokyo this week with a production from the Théâtre National de Chaillot of a “choreographic essay” by José Montalvo, one of its artistic directors. Featuring 13 dancers and Patrice Thibaud, an actor routinely dubbed a genius, the premiere of “Don Quichotte ...

Yoji Sakate celebrates in style

Nov 20, 2013

Yoji Sakate celebrates in style

To celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, the Tokyo-based Rinkogun theater company determined to present four original plays by its founder, the renowned playwright and director Yoji Sakate. The first, staged to critical acclaim in March, was “Cowra no Hancho Kaigi (Honchos’ Meeting in ...

Director Ogawa sublimely cracks Mamet's code

Nov 20, 2013

Director Ogawa sublimely cracks Mamet's code

First impressions can, of course, be deceiving, but mine of 65-year-old David Mamet’s play “The Cryptogram,” whose world premiere was at the Ambassadors Theatre in London in 1994, was simply how unhelpful and knotty a work it was. In light of its title, perhaps ...

Theater of protest boosts rising new hub

Nov 6, 2013

Theater of protest boosts rising new hub

Ikebukuro boasts Tokyo’s second-busiest rail station after Shinjuku, and until recently it was just a transport hub people passed through between their jobs in the city and homes in suburbs to the north. Latterly, though, things have been changing in this once nondescript, somewhat ...

Festival/Tokyo pushes a return to storytelling

Oct 31, 2013

Festival/Tokyo pushes a return to storytelling

In 2009, when Festival/Tokyo took over from the annual Tokyo International Arts Festival, it burst forth with the slogan “Towards a New Real” and the resolve to stamp the city’s name on the global arts map. Back then the aim was to refresh the ...

Fraught reunions

Oct 23, 2013

Fraught reunions

Her long-term boyfriend’s death spurs concert pianist Charlotte into visiting her eldest daughter Eva, from whom she’s been estranged for seven years. At Eva’s house she also meets Helena, her severely disabled other daughter whom she had confined to a hospital for life, but ...

'Edward II': The director's take

Oct 16, 2013

'Edward II': The director's take

Two years ago, Shintaro Mori made his directorial debut at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, with a minimalist production of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist masterpiece “Waiting for Godot.” Now, at age 37, he’s back there at the helm of probably one of the West’s first-ever ...

It doesn't have to be all true to be the life of Akihiro Miwa

Sep 18, 2013

It doesn't have to be all true to be the life of Akihiro Miwa

“Miwa has carried on being a true monster (kaibutsu), whereas many amazingly talented freaks have gone back to looking and behaving normally after enjoying a brief boom in popularity,” said dramatist Hideki Noda at a press conference last month for “Miwa,” his play based ...